The all-female Caucasian rock lizard species Darevskia dahli and other parthenogenetic species of this genus reproduce normally via true parthenogenesis. Previously, the genetic diversity of this species was analyzed using allozymes, mitochondrial DNA, and DNA fingerprint markers. In the present study, variation at three microsatellite loci was studied in 111 specimens of D. dahli from five populations from Armenia, and new information regarding clonal diversity and clone formation in D. dahli was obtained that suggests a multiple hybridization origin. All individuals but one were heterozygous at the loci studied. Based on specific allele combinations, 11 genotypes were identified among the individuals studied. Individuals with the same genotypes formed distinct clonal lineages: one major clone was represented by 72 individuals, an intermediate clone was represented by 21 individuals, and nine other clones were rare and represented by one or several individuals. A new approach based on the detection and comparison of genotype-specific markers formed by combinations of parental-specific markers was developed and used to identify at least three hybridization founder events that resulted in the initial formation of one major and two rare clones. All other clones, including the intermediate and seven rare clones, probably arose through postformation microsatellite mutations of the major clone. This approach can be used to identify hybridization founder events and to study clone formation in other unisexual taxa.
Vergun, A. A., Martirosyan, I. A., Semyenova, S. K., Omelchenko, A. V., Petrosyan, V. G., Lazebny, O. E., … Ryskov, A. P. (2014). Clonal diversity and clone formation in the parthenogenetic Caucasian rock Lizard Darevskia dahli [corrected]. PloS One, 9(6), e100067. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0100067